Celgene to Acquire Juno Therapeutics in $9-Billion Deal

January 24, 2018
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

The acquisition builds on the companies' earlier collaboration to develop T-cell-based therapeutics.

Celgene has signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire Juno Therapeutics, an integrated biopharmaceutical company focused on cellular immunotherapies for cancer, Celgene announced in a Jan. 22, 2018 press release. Under the agreement, Celgene will pay $87 per share, or a total of approximately $9 billion.The transaction was approved by the boards of directors of both companies.

Juno is considered a pioneer in the development of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T and T-cell receptor (TCR) therapeutics, according to Celgene. The acquisition expands Celgene's lymphoma program with the addition of JCAR017 (lisocabtagene maraleucel; liso-cel), a potentially best-in-class CD19-directed CAR T currently in development for relapsed and/or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Regulatory approval for JCAR017 in the United States is expected in 2019 with potential global peak sales of approximately $3 billion, according to Celgene.

The acquisition will also give Celgene a new scientific platform and scalable manufacturing capabilities that will complement the company's position in in hematology and oncology. In collaboration with Juno's team in Seattle, WA, Celgene plans to expand its existing center of excellence for immuno-oncology translational medicine by leveraging Juno's R&D facility in Seattle as well as Juno's manufacturing facility in Bothell, WA.

"The acquisition of Juno builds on our shared vision to discover and develop transformative medicines for patients with incurable blood cancers," said Mark J. Alles, Celgene's CEO, in the company press release. "Juno's advanced cellular immunotherapy portfolio and research capabilities strengthen Celgene's global leadership in hematology and adds new drivers for growth beyond 2020."

"The people at Juno channel their passion for science and patients towards a common goal of finding cures by creating cell therapies that help people live longer, better lives," said Hans Bishop, Juno's president and CEO, in the release. "Continuing this work will take scientific prowess, manufacturing excellence, and global reach. This union will provide all three."

Celgene and Juno entered into an earlier strategic collaboration in June 2015, under which the companies would leverage T-cell therapeutic strategies to develop treatments for cancer and autoimmune diseases with an initial focus on CAR T and TCR technologies. In April 2016, Celgene exercised an option to develop and commercialize the Juno CD19 program outside North America and China.

Source: Celgene